For Matts Widman the sea became his life until the bitter end. The periods on land between pay days and new enrollments were short. But the sailings through all the world's continents were often long, for a couple of years at a time. In spite of that, he had time to marry twice, first to a sailor's daughter, Maria Sofia Kronqvist, born in 1827. He left the job from the ship Mainio in April 1868. He had a chance to say goodbye to Maria before she died of tuberculosis the same month. They had no children.
Before Matts boarded the ship Mainio for a new trip in October, he became engaged to marry Karolina Sofia, daughter of Matts and Maria. Sofia became my great-grandmother.
When Matts returned to Jakobstad in 1870, they married in June. Their daughter Johanna (Hanna) was almost 11 months old at that time. In October, he left again on the ship Mainio. Their second child, Ellen, was born 15 June 1871. This time Matts was not even able to come home for the birth. In August, he left Mainio only to leave on Mainio again a month later. On this trip, he was gone for almost 2 years. There was hardly any time for the family. One trip followed the next. On 6 September 1880, he signed up for a trip on another frigate called Europa. It became his last sailing. On that trip, he became ill of cholera and died on 26 June 1882 at age 56. He was buried at sea at Surabaya, Java (Philippines) by the Captain, Franz Peterson. For his daughters Johanna and Ellen, Matts had bought a Chinese chest each, probably in Hong Kong, where the ships often went to port, and where sailors could go shopping for their families. Matts' traveling had ended, but his friends brought the Chinese boxes home to Jakobstad, and they have been inherited by the women in the family since then.
(Photo) Matts Widman 1826-1882 and Sofia Karlsson 1841-1923. Matts was photographed in Hull, England, by the photographer George Roberts and Son.
Matts Widman's jobs from 1867 (Excerpts from the logs):
21 October 1867 he sailed on the ship Mainio with Captain Wikblad on the North Sea until 6 April 1868.
5 October 1868 on the same ship on the North Sea until 12 June 1870.
20 June 1870 on the same ship until 12 September 1870.
10 October 1870 on the same ship until 28 August 1871.
2 October 1871 on the same ship until 29 September 1873.
20 October 1873 on the ship Europa with Captain F. Nyberg on the North Sea. Disembarked in Liverpool (England) on 14 October 1876.